Review | “Linghun” by Ai Jiang

HOME is where the heart is. It’s one of those cliché expressions that never dies because there is a kernel of truth to it. HOME is an idea. A dream of belonging, fulfillment, and constancy in a world so turbulent and unforgiving. In Ai Jiang’s Linghun, HOME is much more than that. It is a place people go to chase ghosts. A wound in the spiritual fabric where those long vanished might decide to haunt the living, if they are so fortunate. Unlike so many ghost stories you might have read, the ghosts of Linghun are not only welcome but sought after by those that mourn their absence. Desperate to reunite with those that they have lost, they uproot themselves from their homes to relocate to HOME, an enchanted community where the dead cohabitate with the living. But the path is not so simple. HOME does not have an endless supply of homes.

Lured by a charismatic realtor, who convinces them to empty their life savings and live out of their cars, hopefuls come to bid on houses, squatting on the lawns of their prospective neighbors, waiting for their turn. Like their deceased ancestors and loved ones, they linger, sacrificing everything for even a fleeting glimpse of departed spirits. This is the horror of Linghun. Not the spectral shapes that stalk the halls or the phantom voices that whisper in the dark. The shadow that haunts HOME is the shadow of greed – those dark depths of grief that transform us into something monstrous and selfish as we chase after ghosts. For anyone who has mourned, or anyone who has had to say goodbye and didn’t want to, Linghun will haunt you, but it will also help you heal, as it reminds us that letting go of those who have gone is also about letting them rest.

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